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Bike theft on campus becoming a “wheel” problem 

MOORHEAD – As students’ worries about classes and packed schedules begin to die down, a new concern has arisen: bike theft.  

Six bikes have been stolen from Concordia students since Aug. 1 according to Concordia’s head of Public Safety, Bill MacDonald. Prevention of these thefts has become a primary concern for students as word spreads about their peers’ bikes being stolen.  

The Public Safety department at Concordia is responsible for keeping students and their belongings safe on campus. They are taking measures to spread awareness and prevent more bicycle thefts from occurring. 

“We put out an email at the beginning the first week of school that talked about bike thefts and how people need to secure their bike,” MacDonald said. “In high target areas, we have cameras on bike racks. We have cameras if we have specific hotspots on campus.” 

Students whose bikes have been stolen think that Public Safety should be doing more to assist in the recovery of their stolen property and prevent the thefts themselves.  

Sophomore Aidan Sears’ bike was stolen between Aug. 23 and 24 in the early afternoon.  

“I’m frustrated with campus security. I feel like campus is safe but not monitored enough to prevent stuff like this from happening,” Sears said. “I don’t know if they have the skills that they need to take care of it because they have not done much follow up.”  

Although reactions to Public Safety’s actions are mixed, there are steps that students can take to protect their bicycles. 

“Parking in well-lit areas and well-lit bike racks in higher pedestrian areas is a good idea. (Students) need to use a good quality lock. U-shaped Kryptonite locks are better than cable locks. Even really thick cables can be cut with a bolt cutter, and professional bike thieves will often bring a bolt cutter in a backpack.” MacDonald said. 

Public Safety’s goal is to create a safe working and living environment on campus, according to Concordia’s website. However, some students have felt that their possessions are not safe. 

“The day prior to my bike getting stolen, someone else had interviewed me about campus safety and I had talked about how I didn’t feel like there were many issues. I was a little worried about my bike before, but not really,” first-year student Gray Gustafson said. “I’m a little worried about my bike now. I don’t feel unsafe on campus, but I feel like my bike is unsafe.” 

“I feel safe. I do not think my valuables are as safe,” Sears said. 

If a student’s bike is stolen, they should immediately report it to Public Safety where they will take a campus report, MacDonald said. Further steps include reporting the theft to the police.  

“Since our security reports only stay on campus, you need to get that information to Moorhead police,” said MacDonald, “Police will need as much identifiable information as possible. Serial numbers off the frame, receipts, parking permits that we issue here at Concordia, anything that identifies that bike,” 

Having to get the police involved is not a favored step by some students. 

“I had to file with the Moorhead public Police Department before (public safety) could even do anything,” Sears said. “So, I’m frustrated with campus security.”  

The police have helped recover two students’ bikes, including Gustafson’s. 

“I reported (the theft) to the police and then an officer came to take my statement,” said Gustafson, “then I was waiting for a response for about a week. Then they called me, left a voicemail, and said, ‘hey, we found your bike.’ I went to the station, and they actually weren’t able to give it back to me that day, but they sent a Community Resource Officer with a truck who came and dropped the bike off at Livdalen which was super nice. The police were super helpful.” 

If a student witnesses a theft occurring, they may wonder what, if anything, they should do. 

“We ask that students don’t confront anybody who’s in the act of crime in progress and bike theft,” MacDonald said. “Call public safety 24 hours a day at 218-299-3123, or you can certainly call 911, especially if the person is headed off campus because we don’t have jurisdiction off campus.” 

Bikes are stolen for a variety of reasons, but mainly for financial gain. Thieves will steal bikes and sell them. Stolen bikes are sold on what is referred to as the “black market.” 

“Craigslist, social networking sites, Facebook sales sites, pawnshops,” MacDonald said, “There are a lot of ways to get rid of bicycles.”  

The widespread knowledge of recent bike thefts has spurred many conversations about security on campus. As public safety works out how to execute their new security measures, students can make sure to take proper precautions to protect their bikes. With enough Kryptonite locks, thieves are sure to get “tire-d” of unsuccessful robberies. 

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